‘Early-college’ high schools lose funding

Some early-college programs have closed for lack of funding, reports Education Week. The Gates Foundation began funding early college high schools in 2002, creating a network of 214 programs  coordinated by Jobs for the Future. Another 100 programs operate outside that network.

Those early colleges target groups underrepresented in higher education—such as African-Americans, Latinos, low-income students, and those who are the first in their families to attend college—by offering a shorter, less expensive, and highly supportive route to earning a college degree.

Most of the $107 million Gates Foundation grant has been spent and the foundation has shifted its focus to other education projects, Ed Week reports. Without state or local funding, it’s hard for programs to survive.

Over the past two-and-a-half years, two such schools have closed in Georgia, and a District of Columbia high school greatly scaled back its school-within-a-school early-college program. In Ohio, Youngstown State University is transferring responsibility for an early-college high school on its campus to the nearby Eastern Gateway Community College because it can no longer afford to sponsor it.

Financial sustainability “varies dramatically, based on local policies, on how much local funding there is, or how much they’ve been able to supplement it,” said Andrea R. Berger, the project director for a national evaluation of early colleges commissioned by the Gates Foundation.

Early-college participants in the Jobs for the Future network take college classes for free. Some states pay the tuition costs, but others do not.

Two large-scale randomized studies compare students who won a lottery to attend early-college high schools to those who applied but lost the lottery.

A national study by the American Institutes for Research has found positive results.

. . . proficiency rates on standardized tests are higher for early-college participants than for the control-group students in the same school districts. Attendance rates and four-year high school graduation rates are also higher for the early-college students.

In a North Carolina study, ninth and 10th graders in early-college programs are more likely to take and succeed in college courses; more are staying in school.


POSTED BY Joanne Jacobs ON December 21, 2010

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[…] ‘Early-college’ high schools are struggling to survive now that Gates Foundation funding has run out. Some states pay for high school students to take college classes, but others do not. […]

[…] ‘Early-college’ high schools are struggling to survive now that Gates Foundation funding has run out. Some states pay for high school students to take college classes, but others do not. […]

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by actecareertech, Joanne Jacobs. Joanne Jacobs said: Blog: 'Early-college' high schools lose funding http://communitycollegespotlight.org/content/early-colleges-hit-by-funding-cuts_3066/ […]

Joel Vargas

JFF has been a partner for nearly ten years in the development and growth of early college schools around the country. The article accurately characterized the phenomenal success of early college, as confirmed by rigorous third-party evaluations. But also real are the examples of some early college schools that are struggling to sustain services in these severe economic times.

In this difficult fiscal environment, the interest in and adoption of early college strategies remains quite strong. Sixteen states included plans to expand college course taking by high school students in their Race to the Top applications.

To address fiscal realities, JFF has documented early college designs that are cost neutral and financially sustainable. Although a host of factors influence financial sustainability – including state policy and tuition costs, as the author notes – school design choices also play a role. Our documentation efforts provide schools, colleges, and states with ways to think about cost-effective, high quality designs (see our Policymaker’s Guide to Early College Designs [http://bit.ly/dOX7fP]

In these tight times, we hope policymakers maintain a commitment to sustaining the success of early college schools. Financial modeling has shown that existing investments more than pay for themselves; states spend fewer dollars for every high school and college student who graduates from early college schools compared to traditional high schools.

Joel Vargas
Jobs for the Future

[…] here to see the original: Community College Spotlight | 'Early-college' high schools lose … December 22, 2010 | College | Tags: began, closed, college, coordinated, early, education, […]

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